Monday 01 June 2020

Bible Book:

‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’ (v. 32)

Luke 1:39-49 Monday 1 June 2020

Psalm: Psalm 113


In this text – unparalleled in the other Gospel accounts – Mary sets out to visit her relative Elizabeth in the hill country, and Elizabeth filled with the Spirit recognises that Mary will bear the Saviour! In response, Mary prayers a prayer that has become known as the Magnificat, a prayer that continues to be used in many church traditions today.  

The text occurs as part of the ‘infancy narrative’ within Luke, a section of the Gospel that tells of events that took place around the birth of Jesus (Luke 1–2). Luke has already told us the story of Gabriel’s appearance to Zechariah, and the promise that Elizabeth would conceive (1:5-25), as well as the story of Gabriel’s appearance to the virgin Mary, promising to her that the Saviour will be born (1:26-38). Gabriel had also told Mary that her relative Elizabeth had conceived a son, even though past the age of child-bearing (1:36), and so Mary travels to meet her (verse 39). As the two mothers-to-be meet, John leaps in Elizabeth’s womb at the greeting of Mary (verse 41). The Spirit prompts Elizabeth to cry out a blessing on Mary, highlighting the trust Mary showed in the promise given to her by the Lord (verse 45).

It is in response to this blessing that Mary praises the Lord in the Magnificat, the opening verses of which occur in this week’s reading (verses 46-49). In this first section of the prayer, Mary rejoices in what God has done for her, and expresses gratitude and joy in the ‘Mighty One’. The prayer draws from a range of Old Testament texts (Psalm 34:3; 69:30; 136:23), including the song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10). Mary sees herself as an example of a lowly servant whom God blessed with the commission to bear the Saviour (verses 48-49). For this reason, all generations will call her blessed. God’s work among the humble is a key theme in the New Testament (Matthew 14:11; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31), and Mary remains a wonderful example of it.


To Ponder:

  •  Have you ever felt the Spirit prompting you to speak out, like Elizabeth did in this passage?  
  • In what ways does God continue to "favour the lowly" in today’s world?
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